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Bodmin Moor and Cheesewring

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Bodmin Moor and Cheesewring
Author: Claire, Published: 06 Jul 2012 Walk rating : Rating:star1  Bodmin Moor and Cheesewring Walking Guidestar1  Bodmin Moor and Cheesewring Walking Guidestar1  Bodmin Moor and Cheesewring Walking Guidestar1  Bodmin Moor and Cheesewring Walking Guidestar1  Bodmin Moor and Cheesewring Walking Guide
Cornwall, Bodmin Moor
Walk Type: Hills, valleys and dales
Bodmin Moor and Cheesewring
Length: 4 miles,  Difficulty: boot  Bodmin Moor and Cheesewring Walking Guide boot  Bodmin Moor and Cheesewring Walking Guide boot  Bodmin Moor and Cheesewring Walking Guide boot  Bodmin Moor and Cheesewring Walking Guide
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A 3.5 mile fairly strenuous circular walk on Bodmin Moor in Cornwall. The walk starts from Minions, the highest village in Cornwall, and heads out onto Bodmin Moor. The moor gives you the wild exposed landscape you might expect and the route takes you up and over the granite rocks to reach the famous rock formation of Cheesewring, before returning through the moor where you’ll see plenty of evidence of the copper mining that once thrived here.

The walk follows tracks and open areas of Bodmin Moor which, as you would expect, will be very wet and boggy after wet weather so good waterproof boots are a must. The tracks are rocky and uneven underfoot and the climb to Cheesewring will involve a short scramble over large granite blocks. At this high point in Cornwall, the walk is very exposed so make sure you are well prepared. Bodmin Moor is home to free roaming horses, cattle, sheep and ponies so take particular care with dogs. There are no stiles or gates. Approximate time 2 hours.

The walk starts from ‘The Hurlers’ car park in the village of Minions. The free car park is marked with a brown sign and is on the main road through the village at the southern side. Approximate post code PL14 5LE.

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Walk Sections

Car Park to Three Way Fork
Car Park to Three Way Fork

Start point: 50.5141 lat, -4.4562 long
End point: 50.5205 lat, -4.4638 long

With your back to the road, leave the Hurlers Car Park at the far left hand corner via the steps near the information board. Continue ahead in the same direction for just a short distance to reach a wide stone track. Turn right here and follow the stone track heading into the moor.

This area of Bodmin Moor is part of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site and the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. You will come across free roaming sheep, horses, ponies and cattle throughout.

Follow the track and on both sides you will see old brick buildings which are remnants of the copper mining industry in the area. Between 1700 and 1914 the mining industry in Cornwall completely transformed its landscape. In 1836 a rich lode of copper ore was discovered just south of Minions village. This changed the area from a quiet rural landscape to one of the most productive mining areas in the world. Some of the mines reached depths of 1500ft or 400m.

A few paces later on the right you will see The Hurlers, a circular set of stones. The Hurlers is a Bronze Age stone circle complex which dates back to around 2000 or 2500BC. Local legend says that these are people turned to stone for playing a ball game on a Sunday.

Continue on the track until you meet an obvious three way fork ahead.

Three Way Fork to Granite Cave
Three Way Fork to Granite Cave

Start point: 50.5205 lat, -4.4638 long
End point: 50.5244 lat, -4.459 long

Take the furthest right of the three paths, a stone track which goes over the brow of the small hill and then begins to descend. Follow the path as it swings right and keep right on the grass path climbing with a fence on the right.

Follow this track as it veers away from the fence and continues uphill. At the next three way junction, take the middle of the three paths, a grassy slope heading up to the quarry edge. Turn sharp right just in front of the first grass mound and a few paces later on the left you’ll find an old granite cave. This is said to have been the home of a local stonemason, Daniel Gumb, in the 1700s.

Granite Cave to Cheesewring
Granite Cave to Cheesewring

Start point: 50.5244 lat, -4.459 long
End point: 50.5253 lat, -4.4597 long

Retrace your steps for a few paces back to the grass slope and turn right to continue steeply uphill. Scramble over a few rocks to reach the fenced area of quarry ahead. Turn left on the narrow path running parallel to the fence and follow the fence round to the right. You will need to scramble over the large granite rocks here so just pick your route to continue the short climb to reach the Cheesewring rock formation.

The Cheesewring is a natural geological formation, a rock outcrop of granite slabs formed by weathering. The name derives from the resemblance of the piled slabs to a "cheesewring", a press-like device that was once used to make cheese. Local legend says that the tower of rocks is the result of a rock throwing contest between a frail saint, St Tue, and a giant, Uther. When they had each managed to stack twelve stones, an angel carried St Tue’s thirteenth stone to win victory and Christianity overcame the giants.

Cheesewring to Sharp Tor Road
Cheesewring to Sharp Tor Road

Start point: 50.5253 lat, -4.4597 long
End point: 50.5315 lat, -4.4611 long

Now with your back to The Cheesewring, facing directly downhill, pick your way through the granite rocks and continue ahead on the narrow grass path as it descends straight into the valley. Cross over the first grass track you come to and continue straight ahead, picking your way through the grass/granite landscape passing a collection of thorn trees on the left.

Continue past the last of the thorn trees to reach a T-junction with a second, slightly less obvious, grass track. Turn right onto this and follow it ahead.

The track gradually swings right and then begins to diminish. You will come to a fork in what remains of the track, split by a small rock formation of two granite stones which look a little like a whale mouth rising out from the grass. Keep right here following the grass path heading for the rock formation of Sharp Tor on the horizon ahead.

Follow the path heading directly for Sharp Tor ahead and you will emerge to a T-junction with a tarmac lane ahead.

Sharp Tor Road to Stone Wall Corner
Sharp Tor Road to Stone Wall Corner

Start point: 50.5315 lat, -4.4611 long
End point: 50.5244 lat, -4.4544 long

Turn right along the road for just a few paces and then pass to the right of the fence line ahead and follow the path on the moor with the fence line running immediately to your left.

Soon you will find yourself walking on evenly spaced granite blocks set into the grass – an old rail track. Follow this obvious old rail track for some distance.

19th Century Bodmin Moor was remote, far from any navigable rivers or reliable roads. The problem facing the mine owners was how to import the coal for the engines and move the copper ore to the coast for shipping to South Wales where it could be smelted. The solution was to build the Liskeard and Caradon railway which eventually stretched from the mines here to the ship yards at East Looe. The railway opened in 1846. Originally horse drawn carts were used but these were replaced by steam engines in the 1860s. In 1917 the railway closed.

Pass by a camp site and a small wind generator on your left. Continue a little further passing by very large spoil piles from the quarry on the right hand side. Follow the path beyond the spoil piles and on your right will be a dry stone wall. Continue just until the corner of the stone wall.

Stone Wall Corner to End
Stone Wall Corner to End

Start point: 50.5244 lat, -4.4544 long
End point: 50.5145 lat, -4.4545 long

Take a moment to look ahead and to the left where you will see more beautiful remains of the copper mining industry.

Turn right following the path heading steeply uphill with the stone wall on your right. As the wall ends, continue uphill a little further to reach a T-junction with a broad stone track. Turn left onto the track.

Ahead you’ll reach a gated section which secures an area where a landslide has left a large hole on the track! Turn right up hill alongside the fence to reach a higher track. Turn left here along this higher track. Follow the main track, again an old rail track, and keep left as it descends downhill and then levels off heading directly for the tall mast on the hill on the horizon.

Follow the track as it swings gently to the right. Just before the gate ahead, fork right across the grass to reach the ruins of the mine engine house. This is now an unmanned small heritage centre explaining the history of the moor. Take some time to enjoy the displays here.

When you have finished take the stone track to the left of the heritage centre heading for the village houses ahead. Follow the track ahead and you will come to a T-junction with the road. Turn right onto the road, passing a row of terraced cottages and the car park with be on your right.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2012 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.

The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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